Stolen truck leads officers to meth lab and marijuana
• Deputies recover items stolen in Jefferson County at suspect's home
By Carol McLeod
Following the trail of a stolen truck brought Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies to a location in Richmond County where they discovered not only stolen items from area burglaries
but also found a meth lab and a marijuana operation, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office stated Monday.
The truck was stolen March 22 from a location north of Wrens on Highway 17.
The information was entered into the computer system.
The truck was recovered in Richmond County on April 6.
According to a spokesman with the JCSO, the owner brought the truck back home and discovered items in the vehicle that did not belong to him.
“The owner called us,” the spokesman said.
“We retrieved the items and identified some of those items as being from a burglary that had occurred on March 28.
The suspect was Brandon Ballard.”
Ballard, 25, was living in Augusta and it was discovered he had a parole warrant, the spokesman said.
“We arrested him on the parole warrant and recovered more stolen items from the house,” he added.
The items were identified as having been from a burglary in Matthews.
Investigators gained permission from the owner of the house to search. During this search, investigators discovered an active meth lab and the marijuana growing operation in an outbuilding on the property, the spokesman said. “We called Richmond County officers to come and take care of that stuff,” he said. “We brought Ballard back to Jefferson County. He has been charged with one count of theft by taking for the truck and with burglary.
Included in the burglary is an $11,000 dirt bike that has not been recovered yet.”
The spokesman said there is a second suspect in this case whose identity at this time had not been determined.
A witness stated two people were involved.“
Ballard denies taking the motorcycle and denies taking the truck,” the spokesman said.
“He admits to the meth part of it.”
Walking for a Cure
Over $120K raised
By Parish Howard
The organizers, survivors and teams agree, the 13th Annual Jefferson County American Cancer Society Relay For Life was a resounding success.
For the first time in several years, the spring rains held off long enough for the local teams to complete the majority of their Friday evening events and all together,
as of Tuesday, the Relay raised $120,616.7
“I was ecstatic when I got the news,” Co-Chair Vickey McDonald said.
“When I heard the amount, I started crying right there.”
After losing so many friends and family members to cancer, the Relay allows participants like McDonald a way to fight the disease first hand.
“It always gives me hope,” she said. This year’s overall fundraising goal was $100,000 was well exceeded.
“We were all very excited about that,” Co-Chair Chris Dube said.
“Jefferson County has really supported the Relay.
The committee has been excellent. They’re hard working, dedicated folks.
We really couldn’t have done any of this without them, the captains and teams who worked so hard.”
The money raised goes back to the American Cancer Society to be used for research, advocacy and education.“
It goes towards research towards a cure, advocacy for the many laws that goes through our legislature that can affect cancer patients’ rights and improving educational efforts so that more cancers can be caught earlier through screenings in hopes of minimizing the diagnoses.
Dube said that local law enforcement estimated there
were around 2,500 people at
the event at the height of its
activity Friday evening.
The event opened at 6 p.m.
with more than 160 area cancer
survivors taking to the track to
lead the teams in the opening
“From everything I’ve
heard, that’s the most survivors
we’ve ever had take part,”
“We had 125 preregister.
I was just thrilled that
so many showed up. And then
the weather held out, oh, it was
Awards were given for
Most Money Raised by a
Team. C.J.’s Animals took
first, raising $30,795.07.
State Bank, one of the few
teams that has been a part of
the local relay since its inception,
took second, raising
The Seeker’s, a
new team this year, took third
Amounts raised by other
teams include: Queensborough
National Bank at $9,042.52,
Mt. Horeb at $8,911.47, J.M.
Huber $8,800, Disciples For
Life at $7,918.72, Wrens
Middle School at $7,466.70,
Schoolhouse Rockers at
at $3,817, Regions Bank at
$3,817.36, Jefferson Hospital
at $3,593.78, The Pac Team
$2,093, Crystal Garrer’s Team
of Hope at $1,646, The Heritage
of Old Capitol at $1,509
and Friends for Life at $370.
Other awards included Most
Money Raised by a School,
which went to Wrens Middle
School; and Most Money
Raised By a Bank, which
went to First State.
were recognized with the
Team Spirit Award.
received the Individual
Spirit Award. Mt. Horeb Baptist
Church, another first-year
team, was recognized for both
the Best Campsite and the
Survivor’s Choice Award.
Judges for the talent show
included Sydney McGahee,
Rita Culvern, Dollye Ward,
Sandra Jones and Gloria
Corporate sponsors were
responsible for $18,500.
include Glit, Wrens Medical
Associates, First State Bank,
C.J.’s Animals, Queensborough
National Bank, Jefferson
Energy, Regions, M.B. Jones
Oil Company, W.T. Lamb
Investment, Wrens Dental
Center, Disciples For Life,
J.M. Huber Corporation, Mt.
Horeb Baptist Church, Dixon
Builders, Lamb Lumber Company,
Atwell Pecan Company,
Wrens Finance, City of Wrens,
Jay’s, WPEH and The News
and Farmer/The Jefferson
The co-chairs said that there
may be a few more funds that
continue to trickle in over the
next couple of weeks, but that
the total raised should be available
by the time the event’s
wrap-up meeting, which is
yet to be scheduled.
Federal agency approves area pipeline project
By Carol McLeod
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates and oversees energy industries in the economic, environmental, and safety interests of the American public, was scheduled to issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in January regarding a proposal by the El Paso Corporation to create a pipeline from Elba Island near Savannah to Anderson County, S.C.
The pipeline would be approximately 190 miles and pass through the north end of Jefferson County. The impact statement was not released until March 30, according to Bill Baerg of the El Paso Corporation.
The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
This page has been accessed times.
The company has already held a series of town hall meetings in effected communities.
The proposed route would bring the pipeline through Wrens, Baerg said.
“We have filed that as our proposed route.
So depending on what we get the approval on will determine our route,” he said.
Information from the report states, “FERC’s environmental staff concludes that the Elba III Project with appropriate mitigating measures, as recommended, would have limited adverse environmental impact.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service cooperated in the preparation of the draft EIS.”
The draft states the length of pipeline to be about 187 miles in Georgia and South Carolina with a new 10,000-horsepower compressor station in Georgia and associated aboveground facilities.
FERC staff concluded the project would be acceptable environmentally, with appropriate mitigation. Among other items, the draft states the proposal
would be an expansion of an existing and fully operational import terminal with an established deep-water slip and established exclusion zones.
The ship and associated
escort vessels would use an
existing shipping corridor,
dredge spoil would be disposed
of properly, safety features
would be incorporated into
the design and operation and
the proposed pipeline would
parallel existing right of way
for more than half the length,
the draft states. A complete report
may be found at FERC’s
FERC commissioners will
take into consideration staff’s
recommendations and the final
EIS when they make a decision
on the project, the report
“There will still be a period
now where after the report’s
been issued the public will
have a comment period on
the report and then the FERC
will either make changes or
they will issue a final report
in the future,” Baerg said.
“We’re pleased to see that the
FERC has released this draft
report and we look forward to
moving this important energy
infrastructure project forward
in the approval process.”